Earth Month Challenge Week 1

The Earth month challenge so far has been a walk in the park. It really is very easy to turn off lights and appliances when they are not in use. I have realized, however, that both lights and appliances are left on far too often. It is better that I am realizing this and turning them off, but they really should have been off when they were no longer being used -not when I notice an hour later. I am certain that this is making an impact on the amount of power I use everyday, and it will no doubt add up as time goes on. Saving energy in this way is very easy. I believe that if everyone did a minor thing, such as turning off light when they leave the room or unplugging the T.V. when no one is using or watching it, the power savings would be substantial.

My next weekly challenge for Earth month is to eliminate my bus usage around campus, and instead walk, bike, or skateboard around to classes or to events. This might seem very minor, but the more weight a bus is carrying, the more fuel it uses. If a larger number of people would be willing to walk instead of bus around campus, the busing system would save a larger amount of fuel. Besides, there really is not a place on campus that is outside of walking or biking distance. I am anticipating that this week will go well, especially considering that spring is finally here and I can enjoy the warm weather.

Earth Month Challenge Proposal

Each week for the next four weeks, I will be reducing my carbon footprint by eliminating some form of energy overuse from my daily life. For the first week, I am choosing to decrease the amount I leave lights and appliances on when I’m not in the room. Week two, I will stop using the CLN and CLS bus around campus. Week three, I will be taking cooler showers instead of hot ones. Finally, in the fourth week, I will stop using the up elevator in Morrill Tower. Since these challenges are cumulative, by the fourth week I will still be following the guidelines for the previous weeks. I think the most challenging part of this will be the last week, not because of the acumulation, but because I live on the tenth floor. Walking up ten flights of stairs three or four times a day after walking to and from high street will probably get old very fast.

Earth Month Challenge

My area of focus for the Earth month challenge is energy and transportation. I am interested in this particular topic because Morrill tower, at nearly the same time, was advertising a challenge to conserve energy in a competition. There are plenty of things to do to conserve energy so that any person is able to participate.

1.One of the most basic things you can do to preserve energy is to turn off lights and appliance when you leave the room. Most people, I’m sure, are tired of hearing this, but it really is one of the easiest ways to conserve energy.

2. In a similar way, unplugging appliance when you’re done with them will save some power. Plugged in appliance still take energy from the wall when they are not in use.

3. Appliances, also, should be shopped for carefully. Older and outdated appliances are more likely to be inefficient and use more energy. Be sure to buy the most energy efficient models.

4.When washing clothes or dishes, try to use warm or cold water rather than hot. This will use the water heater less -a major contributor to power use.

5.In fact, another way to preserve energy is to directly change temperature settings on your home’s water heater.

6.Carefully heat and cool rooms, overheating and over-cooling rooms when no one is home can become a chronic energy problem if it is not managed

7.Replace or clean air filters in air conditioners regularly to maintain efficiency

8.Replace old light bulbs with new florescent bulbs

9.Insulate your water heater so it will not lose heat hen idling

10. Install low flow shower heads and toilets in your home to reduce water waste

11. Instead of taking the elevator each day, use stairs whenever you’re able, as often as you can

12.Bike or walk instead of driving or taking the bus

13. If you cannot bike or walk, simply use the bus instead of driving your own car

14.consider buying a laptop instead of a desktop, they use less energy

15.Keep the refrigerator and freezer full

ENR scholars is a great resource to ask energy conservation questions to. Also, the President and Provost’s council on sustainability is serving as the main coordination point for conservation efforts of the university. Finally, the Council on the Physical Environment will answer any conservation questions and provide resources.

Many online resources exist that can help anyone conserve energy. I’ve found four websites that provide tips that can help homeowners, business owners, and just about anyone else reduce their impact. These four websites may help anyone looking to save some money and some power: 

Columbus to do List

The second semester Columbus to do list is a project I am looking forward to. First semester, I really enjoyed completing the downtown to do list. I saw everything from the Columbus art museum to Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Emporium.

This semester I am choosing to complete the coffee and tea to do list. This is mostly because of the caffeine dependence that I have built up over the past few months, but also because it is something I enjoy to do in my spare time anyway. I am really looking forward to finding some new spots on High Street to unwind, study, or get a boost for the day. A person can only drink so much Morrill Tower coffee before it gets old. There are ten coffee and tea shops on the to do list, and I don’t think it would be difficult at all for me to visit each one in more than a few days if I was feeling a need to restock the coffee and tea in my room.

One of the shops on the list, Mission coffee, was the first place I was able to visit. I thought to take a bus there but ended up walking instead because the COTA was shut down for a period when I decided to go. The little, blue shop gave off a relaxing vibe and was very friendly inside. It was cheap, easy, and also some of the best chai tea I’ve had in a very long time.

TED Assignment

I have strong interest in the environment, human health, and the link that exists between the two. In fact, I recently based a year long capstone project on this concept. In the study, I researched Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and attempted to alleviate symptoms of this ailment with vertical gardens and indoor green walls. I also created an informational website in order to spread awareness ( Because of this, I chose to first watch the TED Talk which investigates the correlation between human health and where we live. In this video, a heart attack survivor attempts to track the possible causes of this health scare. He found online a plethora of maps, information, graphics, and geographic health trends. He found that some areas are more volatile in terms of air quality and toxicity than others, which makes sense. However, he also found that none of this information was taken into account by doctors and health experts when assessing individuals. He suggests that health experts add this information into personal health records in order to provide more accurate information on an individual.

I also watched “Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture”. In this video, Michael Pawlyn addresses several common environmental issues such as desertification. The information in the video suggests that while humans search for new technology and new solutions to our problems, nature has invested billions of years into solutions to these problems. Pawlyn researchers several methods of waste reduction and efficiency  models. First, he suggests what he describes as the ‘closed loop’ system in which waste from one form of production provides the foundation for another. Rather than consuming and then discarding waste, the waste is re-purposed into a new resource to be used -just like what is done in nature. This method may not only reduce the impact of humans on the natural environment, but may in fact produce more effective products for humans to use.


Saplings Mentor Meeting

Matthew McNeill

ENR Scholars

Autumn 2015

Saplings Mentor Meeting


  1. “Where is the best place on campus to study (in your opinion)?”
  2. “How have you chosen to get involved on campus?”
  3. “What ENR opportunities are you glad you participated in?”
  4. “What is your dream job and why?”
  5. “What advice do you wish someone gave you your freshman year?”

Meeting up with and getting to know Syd as a mentor was a great opportunity. It’s nice having someone who is also undecided major to talk to since they know exactly what your situation is. That being said, there are some things that I will have to find out on my own. But, having help along the way is a great advantage.

I asked Syd what her favorite place to study on campus. I wanted to find out more about this because I haven’t taken advantage of any places to study on campus other than my dorm. I’ve been doing well so far, but it is easier to get distracted when in a room with some of your closest friends. Syd recommended studying in the Agro-science section of campus, which is West of Morrill tower and across the bridge. I like the idea of studying in an open environment. I believe that the environment, gardens, and running bodies of water would help me relax and concentrate while I study. I will definitely take advantage of this before the next midterms.

When it comes to involvement, Syd works the front desk at Morrill Tower and hopes to be an R.A. next year if possible. I really loved hearing this, because I also want to be an R.A. next year or my junior year if it doesn’t work out. Having Syd go through the same process makes me feel a little better about managing the process and not getting overwhelmed since she is always in contact. It was recommended that I try to land this job by several people, and now I’m feeling very confident about my ability to. Syd also said that she volunteers through ENR whenever she gets the chance. Volunteer work looks good on a resume and is also great life experience to have. I volunteered through high school and logged more than 100 hours last year, but haven’t done any since arriving at OSU. I hope to change this by taking the next opportunity to give back to our community.

Being a member of ENR and being an involved member are two different things. My mentor recommended highly that I participate in leadership, mentoring, and any other opportunity that I wanted to participate in through ENR. She was very happy that she did herself, and I would love to see it pay off for me as well. The most recent event, our ENR Hocking Hills trip, was a great experience. I haven’t been to Hocking hills since my sophomore year in high school with my astronomy club, and we did not get to do some of the hikes that we did with ENR. I was very glad to see a part of the park that I hadn’t seen before. I look forward to being involved in ENR, and also finding more beyond the mandated trips.

If someone were to ask me what my dream job was, I wouldn’t know what I would tell them. Syd is also undecided, but seemed to know exactly what she wanted. Syd’s dream job would be a park ranger or zoo representative so that she could work with animals and the environment.

I would consider my first year to be going well so far, but I know I’m not perfect. I like getting advice and I like having the ability to better myself through the mentoring process. Syd’s piece of advice for me was that it is completely fine to freak out, feel overwhelmed, or feel down sometimes. This is a massive university, and a person couldn’t possibly be involved in everything here going on here. Not doing everything is not a sign of failure, it is a sign of knowing your limits and knowing how to be the most effective you. I really liked hearing this, because sometimes I can over commit. I’m very excited for the rest of this year, and I am feeling very confident with all of this new advice that I have to consider.


Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]